Rice at P20/kilo 'impossible', says farmers' group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2022 10:02 AM

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MANILA – It is not possible for rice prices to go down to P20 per kilo, a farmers' group said Monday, adding that government subsidy is needed to lower rice prices.

The subject of lower rice prices became an election topic after presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said he plans to bring down the price of rice to P20 to P30 per kilo.

“Sa balangkas at sa umiiral na batas na Rice Tariffication o Rice Liberalization Law imposible,” said Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano.

(Under the existing Rice Tariffication or Rice Liberalization Law, lowering rice prices to P20/kilo is impossible.)

“Yung P20 per kilo sa balangkas ng mga patakarang neoliberal tulad ng umiiral na mga patakaran ng liberalisasyon, deregulasyon… imposibleng makamit,” he added.

(P20/kilo is impossible under the current neoliberal polciies of liberalization, deregulation.)

Mariano stressed that government needs to subsidize palay production if they want to lower rice prices.

“Ia-address mo yung presyo ng farm inputs eh. Meron kang subsidiya doon sa farm inputs--binhi, abono, at iba pa. At dapat ang farmgate price, ang presyo ng palay sa bukid, ‘pag inani ng magsasaka, eh yung competitive naman.”

“Ibig sabihin, sabi ko nga, kung mapapababa yung cost to produce 1 kg of palay sa P6, P8 katulad sa Thailand at Vietnam, ibenta man nang--kunin ‘man yon ng P16, so meron na agad P8…na pwedeng dagdag sa kita ng magsasaka natin,” he explained.

(You have to address the prices of farm inputs. You need to subsidize farm inputs--seeds, fertilizer, and others. And farmgate prices must be competitive after farmers harvest palay. What I mean to say is, if you can lower the cost of producing 1 kilo of rice to P6, P8 like in Thailand or Vietnam, if it is sold at P16, then that's already P8 added to the profit of our farmers.)

Mariano said government should continue working to make the Philippines food self-sufficient.

“Kailangan ang patakaran mo talaga ay itaguyod yung patakaran natin, patakaran sa food self-sufficiency, yun bang patakaran sa pag-asa sa sariling kasapatan sa pagkain.”

“Ibig sabihin noon, pagpapalakas nung ating lokal na produksyon ng palay, para makamit yung talagang matatag at sustenableng seguridad sa pagkain para sa bawat mamamayang Pilipino.”

(We need to pursue food self-sufficiency, we need to strengthen our local palay production to ensure strong and sustainable food sources for Filipinos.)

He also called on the government to provide more help to the agriculture sector.

“Hindi lang ‘to naka-address sa executive department. Naka-address din po ito sa legislative department, yung bubuo ng 19th Congress, kailangan pong mabago yung mga umiiral na patakaran natin sa pagkain at agrikultura sa bansa.”

“Alam po ninyo napakahalaga ng sektor ng agrikultura, dapat tratuhin bilang mahalagang industriya. ‘Pag sinabi po nating mahalagang industriya, hindi lang po yung crop sector… kasama po diyan ang livestock, poultry, and fisheries kasi po kailangan natin tratuhin yung sektor at industriyang agrikultura natin bilang mahalagang base o pundasyon ng ating pambansang ekonomiya.”

(Thi is not just addressed to the executive department, this is also for the legislative department, those who will make up the 19th Congress, we need to change our policies on food and agriculture in the country. Agriculrure is an important sector, and must be treated as such--not just the crop sector, but also the livestock, poultry, and fisheries sector. Agriculture must be treated as an importanyt foundation of our economy.)

--TeleRadyo, 16 May 2022